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Gottheimer, NJ Legislators announce new ‘Stay in Jersey’ bill to incentivize New York businesses to expand to New Jersey, combat congestion tax

NEW JERSEY — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), NJ State Senator Joe Lagana, and NJ Assemblymembers Chris Tully and Lisa Swain Tuesday announced a new “Stay in Jersey” state bill to incentivize businesses in New York to open new offices in the Garden State for their New Jersey-based employees.

This is a major next step in Gottheimer’s Stay in Jersey Campaign — to help North Jersey residents, who can, work from Jersey, saving them tens of thousands of dollars every year, improve productivity, boost our local economy, avoid their stressful commutes, see their families more, and avoid New York’s new, ridiculous, regressive Congestion Tax.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently struck a deal with the U.S. Department of Transportation and will be moving forward with the Congestion Tax to go into effect as early as 2023. New York’s usurious Congestion Tax would cost Jersey drivers at least $23 dollars a day — more than $5,000 a year — on top of the already far-too-high $16-a-day tolls for our bridges and tunnels, to drive south of 60th Street to work in New York City. Furthermore, no revenue from the Congestion Tax goes to support New Jersey, unlike the shared Port Authority tolls.

By staying in Jersey and avoiding the expensive tolls, the cost of parking and gas, and New York’s proposed Congestion Tax, Jersey commuters will save nearly $20,000 a year to “Stay in Jersey.” Additionally, Jersey commuters will have less stress, more productivity and more time spent with families from not driving hours into New York City. New Jersey’s state and local economies will flourish, and more of our dollars spent will go towards supporting Jersey’s incredible small businesses.

New “Stay in Jersey” legislation will:

  •  Incentivize New York-based businesses to set up regional hubs in New Jersey. The bill establishes a new $15 million per year program through 2027 to provide New York businesses with tax credits for expanding business operations into New Jersey — closer to the primary residence of existing Jersey full-time employees — to help them avoid having to drive into the city and get whacked by the Congestion Tax.
  • Reward businesses that reduce commuting costs for employees that live in New Jersey. This means that New York’s Congestion Tax will automatically make any business applicants from New York City more likely to be accepted and receive the New Jersey tax credit.

Staying and working in Jersey means:

  • Saving on Expensive Tolls. It’s a $16 dollar-a-day toll to use the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, and Lincoln Tunnel to get into New York — more than $4,000 a year for a Jersey commuter.
  • Saving on Parking and Gas. Parking in New York City and gas combined can cost more than $10,000 a year.
  • Avoiding Outrageous Congestion Tax. New York’s proposed tax on Jersey drivers who commute into the city is a regressive and punitive congestion tax that will likely cost more than $5,000 a year for driving to work in Manhattan — hitting hard-working middle-class families.
  • More Time for Family. Saving two and a half hours of commuting means more time spent with family and friends.
  • Less Stress and More Productivity. New Jersey ranked second in the nation for most workers with 60+ minute and 90+ minute commutes. Harvard Business Review found that short commutes increase innovation and productivity.
  • Protecting Our Clean Air. Fewer cars traveling the hours to and from New York will reduce pollution from the commute.
  • Supporting New Jersey’s Small Businesses & Economy. More dollars will go towards supporting Jersey’s small businesses, including local restaurants, diners, real estate, dry cleaners, gyms, and more.
  • Creating Jobs in Jersey. More businesses setting up shop in Jersey will lead to job growth, including for the hardworking women and men of labor. Realtors will find the space and small businesses will benefit from more people working from Jersey.

“Just read MTA spelled backwards and it tells you exactly how New York looks at New Jersey right now: as their personal ATM. The MTA Congestion Tax board is getting ready to make a big withdrawal from Jersey drivers with the Congestion Tax scheduled to begin as soon as next year. The last thing that a terribly mismanaged government authority needs — one riddled with investigations — is more money,” Gottheimer said. “The ‘Stay in Jersey’ bill will establish a new incentive program to provide New York businesses with tax credits for expanding business operations into New Jersey — closer to the primary residence of existing Jersey full-time employees — to help them avoid having to drive into the city and get whacked by the Congestion Tax.”

“When you add it all up: the expensive tolls, the cost of parking and gas, and the congestion tax, Jersey commuters would save $20,000 a year to Stay in Jersey. Not to mention, all the benefits of less stress and more productivity and time with families from the hours spent not driving. The bottom line is that by staying and working in New Jersey, our residents will have more money in their pockets, our state and local economies will flourish, and more of our dollars spent will go towards supporting Jersey’s incredible small businesses,” Gottheimer said.

“Encouraging people to live in New Jersey isn’t difficult – our cities are some of the most diverse in the country, boasting a wide variety of the best cuisines, our open spaces and preserved lands span the state and include over 100 miles of beaches to enjoy in the summer, and our schools are the best in the nation,” Swain said. “It’s our task now to encourage businesses to recognize the benefits of being in New Jersey, and to get the ball rolling on their relocation efforts.”

“Our team has been working closely with Congressman Gottheimer to address this issue, and to counter New York’s damaging congestion tax on New Jerseyans crossing the bridge for work,” Tully said. “What came out of these conversations was an exciting plan to incentivize businesses to relocate to New Jersey, creating hubs for people to work, live, and do business right in their communities.”

“Recent actions by neighboring states to add exorbitant congestion pricing fees on top of what New Jerseyans already pay, also made clear the need to reduce commuting costs,” Lagana said. “It’s no secret that working close to home benefits not only residents themselves, but is a boon to local economies. Business hubs spur economic development and investment in our mom and pop shops, local eateries and markets, and boutique downtown stores.”

Gottheimer was joined today in Fair Lawn by New Jersey State Senator Joseph Lagana, New Jersey Assemblyman Chris Tully, New Jersey Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso, Bergen County Commissioner Germaine Ortiz, Mike Egenton of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association.

The new “Stay in Jersey” bill includes the following provisions:

  • Establishes the “Expand New Jersey Assistance Program” through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) — a $15 million-per-year program through 2027 — to provide tax credits to New York businesses that expand their operations to areas of New Jersey that are more accessible for full-time employees whose primary residence is New Jersey, cutting commuting costs and travel time for New Jersey workers.
  • To be eligible for the tax credits, the business intending to expand operations to New Jersey must demonstrate:
    • That the business will make, acquire, or lease a capital investment at a qualified business facility at which existing full-time employees will work.
    • That the capital investment will result in a reduction of commuting costs for the existing full-time employees who relocate.
  • The bill mandates that the NJEDA establishes weighted criteria to evaluate businesses applying, including but not limited to the number of full-time employees to be transferred and the total reduction in commuting costs incurred by those employees.
  • The NJEDA and businesses are to enter into an agreement prior to the issuance of tax credits. The agreement shall include but shall not be limited to:
    • A detailed description of the proposed project/capital investment.
    • The terms of the tax credits and first year for which they may be claimed.
    • Personnel information.
    • A method for annual reporting of commuting costs of those employees included in tax credit calculation.
    • A provision permitting payroll audits of the business.
    • A provision permitting the NJEDA to amend the agreement.
    • A provision establishing the conditions under which the agreement may be terminated and award tax credits recaptured.
  • The amount of the tax credit awarded to an eligible business shall be equal to $250 per existing full-time employee who works at least 60% of their working hours at the facility and 50% of the capital investment.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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